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April 8 2014

White House Not Enjoying Equal Pay Day as Much as Usual This Year?

Charlotte Hays

The White House may not be enjoying Equal Pay Day as much as usual this year.

CBS News notices today that that the White House is getting “roughed up by its own pay equity rhetoric.” The Weekly Standard captures the moment:

"The White House is getting, as you indicated Norah, roughed up by its own pay equity rhetoric," reported Major Garrett. "In an analysis of White House salaries, which nobody here disputes,  shows that the median income of female staffers is 88 percent of that of male staffers."

"Now the study also showed that men and women with the same White House jobs earn exactly the same salary. Now the White House said its gender pay gap is tied to job experience, education, and hours worked among other factors. This matters because those explanations, according to the Labor Department, explain a good deal of the gender pay gap nationally. The big difference in these stories: When President Obama discusses this issue nationally, he doesn't mention those other work variables, only the broad figure, that 77 cents for every dollar is what women earn compared to men," said Garrett.

"When the factors that the White House used to defend its gender pay gap are used nationally, the Labor Department says the difference in median wages between men and women shrinks to about 5 cents to 7 cents on the dollar."

Elsewhere in Equal Pay Day news, the White House was forced to publicly “walk back” its oft-repeated claim that the gender wage gap is 77 cents.

As the Washington Examiner reported, Betsey Stevenson, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said “very defiantly” in an Equal Pay Day briefing women are…

… stuck at 77 cents on the dollar, and that gender wage gap is seen very persistently across the income distribution, within occupations, across occupations, and we see it when men and women are working side by side doing identical work.

This figure has been endlessly debunked, frequently by IWF, citing government and other objective economists. For once, a member of the press challenged it. It initially appeared that Stevenson had gotten away with it:

Except, as soon as Stevenson was actually questioned about the statistic by McClatchy reporter Lindsay Wise, the White House adviser crumbled, admitting her earlier comments were inaccurate.

“If I said 77 cents was equal pay for equal work, then I completely misspoke,” Stevenson said. “So let me just apologize and say that I certainly wouldn’t have meant to say that.”

Oh, I’m sorry, I guess when Stevenson said “we see it when men and women are working side by side doing identical work” — that was an accident?

“Seventy-seven cents captures the annual earnings of full-time, full-year women divided by the annual earnings of full-time, full-year men,” Stevenson clarified. “There are a lot of things that go into that 77-cents figure, there are a lot of things that contribute and no one’s trying to say that it’s all about discrimination, but I don’t think there’s a better figure.”

No one’s trying to blame discrimination? Isn’t that what the entire Paycheck Fairness Act and Equal Pay Day are based on?

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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